The Fox Theater in Boulder, CO was home to the final three shows of the fall Dark Star Orchestra tour. I had the pleasure of going to the first night where DSO played an inspired rendition of the Grateful Dead show from 10-20-78. The following nights they played the next successive Dead shows and busted out over 60 dead tunes throughout 3 nights.
Colorado is beautiful and so were the people in the Fox Theater. Everyone came to have a good time, the crowd was lighthearted, hollering and laughing throughout. It didn’t look like anyone had had too much too fast!
Highlights of the show were all over the place but I’ll just name a few that you can listen to by checking out the archive.org link below. My personal favorite part of the show was the transition from Half Step into Franklin’s Tower. Two of my favorite songs back to back that go so well together! The encores were both incredible, especially the first one when Mattson just came out and wailed on Johnny B Goode. The other highlights were mainly during the jam sessions which were some of the most energetic parts of the show.
My only regret is not being able to make all 3 nights…
SET LIST: Dark Star Orchestra – October 18, 2013
Set 1: Minglewood – They Love Each Other – Cassidy – Dire Wolf – El Paso – Tennessee Jed – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue – Loser – Lazy Lightnight > Supplication
Set 2: Miss Half Step > Franlins Tower – Dancin in the Streets > Drum > Space > Jam
Set 3: NFA > Black Peter > Around and Around
Encore 1: Johnny B. Goode
Encore 2: Shakedown – Warewolfs of London
moe. continues to be one of the most prolific jambands ever to take the stage. Their catalog includes hundreds of songs allowing them to weave amazing musical tapestries on any given night. Their touring schedule has receded a bit in recent years, however they never leave fans waiting too long for their return. After an awesome two-night run at the end of November last year at The Ogden, moe. returns to Colorado. They played two more nights that included an opening slot for Blues Traveler’s yearly 4th of July celebration at Red Rocks. However the highlight of their run has to be the two sets of carnage that occurred at The Boulder Theater on the 3rd.
The first set was fairly standard clocking in just over seventy minutes. They opened with “Tubing The River Styx.”
Set 1: Tubing The River Styx> The Pit> CalifornIA> Bring You Down, Paper Dragon, Dr. Graffenberg> Hava Nagila> Long Island Girls Rule
Set 2: meat> Silver Sun> Sensory Deprivation Bank> meat> Recreational Chemistry> meat> Tom Sawyer
You can listen to the show on Archive. Thanks to Gerry Gladu for posting. http://archive.org/details/moe2013-07-03.16bit
They eased into the night with a dark brooding jam that included the 1-2-3 punch of “Tubing The River Styx” into “The Pit” into a bouncier “CaliforniIA.” Chuck and Al continue to be two of the most dynamic guitarists in the business. They seem to have an almost telepathic level of communication when it comes to their live performances. Rob really got a chance to shine both vocally and on bass during “Paper Dragon,” which reaches new levels every time I see it live. The real peak of the first set was the sublime “Dr. Graffenberg” as it saw a return to the dark jam that started the show. It went long and scary giving fans exactly what they were waiting for. Going classic moe. quickly riffed on “Hava Nagila” before they closed with the now rare “Long Island Girls Rule.” They have not performed it since their New Year’s run last year.
The second set was absolute dynamite beginning with the ultimate “meat” fake out. Right as moe. reached the crescendo of “meat” which would normally break into a frenzied homage to all things protein they stopped on a dime and ripped into “Silver Sun.” It was a weird feeling to say the least, but those of us in the know sensed it would return. “Sensory Deprivation Bank” was tight and clean and saw that revisit to a shortened “meat” jam that barely went past the point of tease. However, “Recreational Chemistry” was a thirty-minute plus jaunt into the outermost. Rarely can bands even pontificate on jamming on one tune for over half an hour let alone execute it so effortlessly. This was one for the books in my humble opinion. Directly following moe. went into the extended “meat” we were all craving. Between the two songs they performed almost an hour total. This is some of the most epic jamming I’ve witnessed live this year. As they rounded the bend on their twenty-minute “meat” the tone in the room changed. Jim went to the rarely used microphone for a stunning take on Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.” His nasally voice was the perfect substitute for Getty Lee’s and he just nailed it. moe. came back and encored with a huge “Mexico.” This show saw some powerful jamming from a band that still has it. They can go down the road of quick romps through wide swaths of their catalog or meander through the intricacies of a single song. moe.’s show at The Boulder Theater demonstrated both approaches.
After night one of moe. at The Boulder Theater I couldn’t wait to get back into the room for round two. We got caught up in the day and ended up walking in just as the boys from New York ripped into Bearsong. This song was on a five-year hiatus in the early 2000’s but has been making it into steady rotation since 2004. However I have never seen it as an opener and I can tell you it most definitely set the mood for the entire night. It felt like a virtual continuation of the power and energy present on in Boulder on Friday. Here is the setlist from PT.
SET I: Bearsong> Runaway Overlude, One Way Traffic, Head> Hector’s Pillow> Bullet> 32 Things
SET II: Awesome Gary> Californ IA> Big World, Rainshine, Cathedral, Captain America> Mexico
ENCORE: Chromatic Nightmare> Rebubula
You can download the recording on Archive. Thanks to Chuck Miller for posting.
Bearsong was like jumping feet first into the hot coals of a raging fire. We got a chance to catch half a breath with the intro to Runaway Overlude before Chuck and Al went into dueling guitar solos. Al even made his way over to Chuck side for the musical battle. One Way Traffic, a Rob song off of Welcome To The La Las, confused a few in the crowd, but I enjoyed it. As I said in my review from night one I really dig how moe. transforms and expands on their newer songs in a live setting. They always seem to fit well into the overall mix for me and I’ve felt this way going back to Wormwood.
Head saw Al taking the reigns with the ferocity that made me a fan of his way back when. It was the beginning of the massive jam that they would ride through the end of the first set. Hector’s Pillow took us back to the rage tone that dominated the majority of the show. The crowd was literally making the floor bounce as they danced fast and strong. Again the energy in the room was powerful and contagious. It was slightly more packed than night one but still maneuverable. I know more than a couple people who jumped ship from Widespread to get some electric-fueled moe. goodness rather than sit through another night of acoustic music. Bullet was definitely the highlight of the first set stretching well over the fifteen-minute mark and showing the crowd that moe. was there to play. They closed with a ripping version of 32 Things that saw Rob slapping his funky bass sublimely.
moe. has been doing a second set opener contest on their Facebook page, picking up odds and ends from the tour and putting them in a box for the person who guesses the most correctly. I can only assume that the Awesome Gary opener was a curveball for their fans. This is yet another song that took an extended hiatus not being played for nine years and only recently making it back onto setlists. I for one had never heard it performed live so I was stoked to see them bust it out. Californ IA was a jam that the let the audience settle into the set before an intense Big World. Vinnie was a rock all weekend holding down the changes and keeping the band in line. Rainshine another newer track, which I got to witness the debut of at Summer Camp last year, was solid. This song just builds properly in live setting and I dig the overall rock attitude. After which they went into my favorite song off of Sticks And Stones, Cathedral. I could have left the show happy then, but the rest of the show would end up being classic moe. gold. Opium felt like a cool breeze washing over everyone in the room and Captain America could have easily been the second set closer. However the boys felt it would be prudent to toss in a seventeen-minute version of Mexico to shut her down correct.
They encored with Chromatic Nightmare, which could honestly be the intro to just about any song in moe.’s catalog before absolutely blowing the roof off the place with Rebubula. Now, the thing about Rebubula is that I edited my Summer Camp Counselor video to this track and they encored the last night of Scamp with it. They did the same in Boulder and I couldn’t help but feel it was another little pat on my back. I know it’s just a great tune to encore with, but a fat hippie can dream can’t he? Overall moe. came to Boulder and blew away all my expectations. The last few years they have worked hard to win over new fans and reinvigorate their fanbase in Colorado. I feel they accomplished just that and had an extremely successful two-night run on the Front Range. Now, I look ahead to another amazing run at Summer Camp and am ready to see them do what they do best at one of their home festivals.
Well Summer Camp made it happen again. As the Summer Camp Counselor it was my job to be their ambassador for moe.’s run out here in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Of course I say that a little tongue and cheek, but in all honestly the last year has been incredible. Summer Camp has come through time and time again to get some amazing coverage for this blog. Thanks Summer Camp.
After spending a week in New York City for work I couldn’t ask for a better homecoming than two nights of moe. at The Boulder Theater. This two-night run was originally scheduled for the Ogden, but due to the fact that Widespread Panic scheduled their Wood Tour a few doors down at The Fillmore the shows were moved to Boulder. I honestly couldn’t be happier. I love this room and with the update to their sound system it really is a first class Front Range venue. Amy picked me up at the airport, we cruised around town, and had dinner with some old friends before hitting the show.
We arrived at The Boulder Theater around 8 PM and I picked up my photo pass. I was slightly amused when I saw on the guest list that next to my name it said Summer Camp Counselor. I chuckled to myself as I walked in and found a spot Chuck side for the start of the show. I had been waiting for this night for months and it had finally arrived, I was almost giddy. moe. came to the stage and set the night off like a fuse racing towards a stick of dynamite with a crunchy Skrunk. Here is the rest of the setlist from moe.’s facebook page.
SET I: Skrunk, Nebraska, Zed Naught Z, Puebla> Darkness> Brent Black> Queen Of Everything> Brent Black
SET II: Deep This Time, Up On Cripple Creek> Blue Jeans Pizza> (nh) Smoke, Time Ed> George
ENCORE: Queen Of The Rodeo, Downward Facing Dog
Here is the recording from Chuck Miller on Archive – http://www.archive.org/details/moe2012-02-10.M300.
moe. came out of the corner like a punch drunk boxer with something to prove. With this wake up call entitled Skrunk the crowd snapped to attention and started their two-day boogie strong. They settled into the set with Nebraska. This track is one of my favorites from back in the day and I was happy to see it so early in the performance. The crowd was loosely packed, which made it easy for me to maneuver for photos. There was a distinct energy in the room, like everyone who made it to the show was meant to be there. Jim’s vibraphone bounced off the walls for Z0Z nicely and set up what would be the biggest jam of the first set. Puebla, one of the tracks off of What Happened To The La Las, evolved dramatically in a live setting taking on a dark tone, again accented by Jim’s percussion. The sinister sound went deeper with the segue into Darkness. They ended the first set with a massive Brent Black sandwich with Queen Of Everything taking the place of the roast beef. Clocking in at almost a half hour this was by far my highlight of the set one.
They opened up the second set with a brighter Deep This Time with Rob maintaining his stoic expression belting it out properly. Al took the spotlight on an unexpected version of The Band’s Up On Cripple Creek, which stretched well over the ten-minute mark. moe. transitioned beautifully into Blue Jeans Pizza and it was right around this point that I had a modest epiphany. Unlike many of the other jambands in the scene, moe. has never broken up or really even taken an extended hiatus. This is the reason they are perhaps the tightest band in the world of jam. They are all on the same page, and they make it work well, and in their twenty second year of performing live they are honestly sounding better than ever. After another new track off of La Las they gave us perhaps the best Time Ed I’ve ever seen them play. Stretching past the twenty-four minute mark it was one of those instances where they went so deep into the jam I had to ask myself, “Are they still playing Time Ed?” It was the epitome of sickness and only possibly equaled by the twenty plus minute George to close the second set. The end of the show was simply jaw dropping and proof that moe. may be one of the few bands left that truly jams. I mean you have to ask what other band out there in scene plays two songs for forty-five minutes to close a show? They encored with a quick Queen Of The Rodeo before giving us an extended take on Downward Facing Dog.
The whole show came off incredibly well and again reaffirmed my love of moe. They shred and aren’t afraid to really blow the backend out of their songs. I got to chill for a bit backstage after the show and let the boys know that they did Colorado right. I headed back to Fort Collins with a huge grin on my face and serious feeling of anticipation for night two in Boulder.